YO!Disabled and Proud runs a toll-free line, answered by youth with disabilities who can provide information on IHSS, Education (Pre-K to Post Secondary), Self-Esteem, Jobs, Disability History, Disability Rights, and Leadership Opportunities. Give the toll-free line a call and get Connected! 866-296-9753 (voice) 800-900-0706 (TTD).
The Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) is an innovative, intensive five-day training program for high school juniors and seniors with disabilities.
The Emerging Leaders program matches students with disabilities with employers for summer internships and leadership development opportunities.
NCWD/Youth works to ensure that transition age youth are provided full access to high quality services in integrated settings to gain education, employment and independent living.
Going to College is for students with disabilities, and has everything you need to prepare yourself. Great "how-to" videos.
Find out how your benefits will change when you turn 18. Try California’s DB101.org School and Work Calculator and learn about your choices.
What Can You Do, the Campaign for Disability Employment, has a special section for Youth.
Dress and Impress is a fun video with tips for youth going for a first job interview and others who have limited experience in the workplace or doing interviews.
No Child Left Behind for Parents has general information for parents of children with disabilities on preparing children for academic success through college.
Alliance for Technology Access is a national technology access network with resources for children and adults.
Young people are entering a very exciting phase of life, and have a lot of questions about the future:
For those going to college to prepare for careers, Going to College is a nice resource for students with disabilities, with lots of helpful "how-to" videos.
At right are resources and people are available to assist and answer questions. For any question related to becoming employed, this site aims to connect you to the information that will help young people find jobs that offer opportunities to learn new things and make a positive contribution.
Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers with highly motivated postsecondary students with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. To learn more, visit their website, http://www.dol.gov/odep/programs/workforc.htm.
The Washington Center internship program The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars is an independent, nonprofit organization serving hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States and other countries by providing selected students challenging opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C. for academic credit. This internship program offers special amenities that make it easier for people with disabilities to intern (accessible apartments, etc.). To learn more, visit their website: http://www.twc.edu/default.shtml.
National Collaborative on Youth with Disabilities Regional Programs This website provides information on various regional programs that provide localized employment information. To learn more, visit their website, http://www.ncwd-youth.info/innovative-strategies/search?states_of_operation=CA.
High School/High Tech (HS/HT) Are you interested in a career in Math or Science? If so, the HS/HT program may be just what you're looking for. The HS/HT program is a national network of state and locally operated programs designed to provide young people with all types of disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or further education leading to technology-related careers. To learn more, visit their website, http://www.ncwd-youth.info/hsht.
The Emerging Leaders program matches students with disabilities with employers for summer internships and leadership development opportunities. College students with disabilities can apply for summer internship positions to kick-start their careers with real job experience and networking opportunities. Employers are matched to carefully screened, diverse, and well-educated interns with proven track records and demonstrated leadership abilities. To learn more, visit their website, http://www.ncwd-youth.info/resources_&_Publications/manuals.php.
Volunteering and community service can be an excellent way to build up your resume. It also can be a great way for you to try and find out what you might like to do for a career. A great place to start when you are looking for volunteer opportunities is California Volunteers: http://www.californiavolunteers.org/index.php
In order to reach your full potential in life and develop and reach positive academic, career, and personal goals it is very important for you to have a mentor who can offer advice and help guide you in the right direction.
Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is an opportunity to strengthen the transition between school and work, evaluate personal goals, explore possible career paths, and develop lasting mentor relationships. Disability Mentoring Day experiences can also result in an internship opportunity with the host employer or can function as a first interview on the way to a part-time or full-time employment offer. Disability Mentoring Day occurs the third Wednesday of every October. For more information on how you can become involved, please visit their website, http://www.dmd-aapd.org/DMD/forstudents.html.
Okay, so you’ve got the resume going, the pants are pressed, and you’re ready to start working. Now, all you need is a little bit of help choosing the right job. Your local One-Stop Career Center is a great place to start! They can help you assess your skills and experience to help you decide on the best career, help you search for a job, and can also offer you education and training. To find your local One-Stop Career Center, visit http://www.careeronestop.org/Audience/Students/Students.aspx or just pick up the phone and dial 1-877-US2-JOBS (1-877-872-5627).
There are many types of benefit programs available to you, including Medi-Cal and Social Security:
Medi-Cal provides health coverage (including medical, dental, vision and personal assistance services) for low-income families and persons with disabilities. To apply for Medi-Cal benefits you can visit your local Medi-Cal County office. To find one nearest to you please visit http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/Pages/CountyOffices.aspx
Social Security To qualify for the various Social Security Disability programs you must be considered “disabled” or “blind” according to Social Security. The two main types of Social Security programs based on disability are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
To apply for Social Security benefits you will need to complete an application for Social Security Benefits AND an Adult Disability Report. The report collects information about your disabling condition and how it affects your ability to work. You can find these forms at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability/adult.htm
Disability Benefits 101 (DB101.org) Many benefit programs have different rules for adults and children. Program rules may change when you turn 18, so this birthday marks an important transition. Turning 18 may also bring other changes, like moving out of the house, getting a job, or going to college. You will need to understand how all of these changes can affect your benefits so that you can plan ahead. There are specific work incentives for use with disabilities, including the student earned income exclusion. This website can provide information on this and other programs. To learn more, visit: http://www.disabilitybenefits101.org/ca/situations/youthanddisability/
Know What Benefits You Are Currently Receiving Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) Once you start to earn income from a job, your benefits are going to change. Because of this, it is important to know which benefits you are receiving. If you are unsure whether you are on Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance/Childhood Disability Benefits (or both), you may request a Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) from Social Security by visiting your local office or calling (800) 772-1213.
Resources That Can Help You Figure Out Benefits And Work: www.DisabilityBenefits101.org (DB101.org) This resourceful website helps workers, job seekers, and service providers understand the connections between going to work and how that will affect benefits. There are 5 different benefits planning calculators that can show you how going to work will affect your health coverage, cash benefit, and other employment related programs that you may use. Whether you are going to work for the first time, or switching jobs, this website can be a great tool for helping you make that smooth transition. www.disabilitybenefits101.org
Visit a Benefits Planner Knowledgeable benefits planners are available to assist you in figuring out how working will affect your benefits. You can find your local benefits planner at the provider website.
Picking a College Going to college today can mean attending a 4-year college or university for your bachelor's degree, or pursuing an Associates degree (AA) at a 2-year community college, or attending a technical institute or a trade school. It can mean studying full-time, part-time, living at school, or commuting from home.
You should ask your school counselor whether a two year or a 4-year degree is necessary to meet your career goals. Your options may include going to a community college or a reputable trade or technical school that offers a degree or skill certificate.
Disabled Student Services
Most colleges and universities have an office that provides services and accommodations for disabled students. It is important to visit the schools you are considering before you decide which one to attend. This allows you to test out the waters and decide if you can get the services you need. Disabled Student Services programs provide support services, specialized instruction, and educational accommodations to students with disabilities so that they can participate as fully and benefit as equally from the college experience as their non-disabled peers.
To learn more about Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS), ask the student services office at the college you are thinking about attending. For DSPS services available at community colleges, visit their website.
Funding for College
Pursuing higher education can be expensive when you start having to pay for housing, tuition, books etc. It is strongly advisable to apply for as many sources as financial aid as possible. California Residents need to fill out TWO forms in order to receive aid:
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Cal Grant (California Student Aid commission-www.csac.ca.gov/ )
The Web Offers Some Great Scholarship Resources:
Assistive Technology (AT) allows individuals with a disability to use their own unique abilities to reach their goals. Some examples of Assistive Technology include but are not limited to talking word processors, specialized keyboards, communication devices, arm and wrist supports, amplified telephone handsets, screen magnifiers, wheelchairs, ramps, grabbers, environmental controls. There are many resources available to assist you in locating the assistive devices you need to be successful.
Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) You can find your local DOR office at this website: http://www.rehab.cahwnet.gov/eps/index.htm To find information about DOR’s Assistive Technology programs please check this website: http://www.rehab.cahwnet.gov/eps/asstech.htm
Assistive Technology (AT) Network The AT Network provides information, referrals, training, and technical assistance to people with disabilities who are looking for technological assistance. Their website is: http://www.atnet.org/
The California Assistive Technology Exchange (CATE) CATE helps Californians with disabilities obtain assistive technology to improve their independence and increase their productivity. The CATE web site links individuals to three programs to help them find what they need: a device loan program, a device reutilization program and a loan guarantee program. http://cate.ca.gov
Resources for Individuals who are Visually Impaired There are a number of low vision clinics throughout California, providing information on assistive technology for individuals who are visually impaired. For a list of low vision clinics, visit: http://www.macular.org/lowvis/low_ca.html